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Day 16 - Down but not out! (And Gulnaz Backbends)

Oh dear! my back has not been good today and ended up sitting out of Gulnaz's class and observing instead. On the plus side, this means I have reliable notes. It was an extremely rapid fire class, with lots of repetition of poses and lots of (very necessary) rests too. The holds were very short, up in one breath and down on the next in a lot of cases. The group was rewarded with a restful end to the class of Chair Sarvangasana rolling into Halasana and everyone seemed very happy when they left. I was of course as sick as a parrot to miss out, but we have to accept what we are given and my back definitely wanted to rest this evening. Right at the end of class, while the others were going for Chair Sarvangasana I went for Setubandha supported with bolster, feet level and Baddha Konasana in Setubandha - it felt blissful to open my chest and extend my spine and when I came down at the end my back felt better than it had all day.

Day 16 – Gulnaz Backbends

  • AMVirsasana – AMSvanasana – Uttanasana X 2

  • AMSvanasana – UMSvanasana x 2

  • Take 2 bricks and repeat AMSvanasana – UMSvanasana to expose the armpits and lift the side trunk up x 3

  • AMS – UMS – Charurangasana (not to be confused with Chaturanga Dandasana – Chaturangasana is simply kneeling on all 4’s) X 3

  • Eka Pada Chaturangasana – Extending alternate legs in line with the hip, front face of the leg facing the floor like Vira 3, kneecap tight, leg extending from frontal thigh x 4 each side.

  • Eka Pada Chaturangasana this time extending opposite arm and leg. ‘Each part has to get equal length’ Eyes looking forwards. Right leg, left hand! Left leg, right hand! Right leg, left hand! Left leg, right hand! In rapid succession.

  • Virasana to recover.

  • Lie Prone, forehead resting on the floor. Arms extended forwards on the floor in line with the shoulders, palms facing the floor. Extend right leg from the root of the thigh, lifting it up (a few inches) and extending it back. Left leg, right leg, rapid changes x 4

  • Repeat above, but now Right leg, left arm! Left leg, right arm! Repeatedly and rapidly. Then Both legs! Both arms! Above head! Lift higher! Like Superman! How are Superman’s arms? Not crooked!!

  • Stretch arms back, palms facing ceiling – lift arms up and stretch them back, just arms! X 3

  • Salabhasana – Arms and Legs! X 3

  • Salabhasana – Keeping the legs lifted up and stretching back throughout – Arms forwards! Arms backwards! Arms forwards! Arms backwards! Rapidly and repeatedly.

  • Prone Savasana longish rest. If you want take a blanket under the pubis.

  • Dhanurasana very short holds, repeatedly and rapidly. Lift yourself up tall! Down. Legs higher! Knees Higher! Down X 5.

  • Here she talked about how Dhanurasana looks like a simple pose, but it’s not, it’s quite intense. Salabhasana should always be done first to prepare the legs and avoid cramps.

  • Salabhasana – Legs longer! Extend the thighs! X 3

  • Dhanurasana X 3 LIFT knees UP! Thighs UP! Become tall! X 3

  • Lie prone, take bricks, lifting up repeatedly and rapidly into UMSvanasana – Anchor your toes, prepare the legs BEFORE you lift and STRAIGHTEN the arms! Down. Straighten the arms! Walk forwards! Knees UP! Thighs UP! Walk forwards! Down X 4.

  • Rest lying prone. Experienced students take the bricks a little further back.

  • Repeat UMS from lying prone – Anchor the toes and lift up! Lift up higher! Shoulders back! X 3

  • Salabhasana – Arms straighter! Legs straighter! Keeping legs up rapid changes between Salabhasana and Dhanurasana X 4 each.

  • Long rest lying prone.

  • Anchor toes UMSvanasana x 3

  • Dhanurasana – Lift knees up! Thighs up! Parsva Dhanurasana right side – Dhanurasana – Parsva Dhanurasana left side – Dhanurasana X 3 each side.

  • Long rest. One more round?

  • Dhanurasana – Lift knees up! Thighs up! Parsva Dhanurasana right side Why the bottom leg is sleeping? – Let the legs get pulled away! Away! Away! Away! Dhanurasana – Parsva Dhanurasana left side – Dhanurasana X 3 each side.

  • Demo – Keeping the legs actively pulling away in the Parsva

  • Repeat Dhanurasana Lift up tall! Ascend up tall! Lift higher! – Parsva Dhanurasana X 3 each side. Bottom hand, bottom leg, PULL! PULL! PULL!

  • Long rest. Forehead on blanket if nose getting squashed on the floor. Arms back beside the trunk.

  • Roll onto back body Urdhva Dhanurasana X 3. Just go up and come down, not staying. Bricks and Bolsters at wall for those that require. Do not have the bolsters touching the wall, leave a gap for the head, crown of head has to be down.

  • REST

  • 3 more times Urdhva Dhanurasana

  • REST

  • 3 more times Urdhva Dhanurasana.

  • REST, Breathe, Exhale.

  • Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana X 3 from Urdhva Dhanurasana – Crown of head down – Interlock fingers around the skull – Walk in and lift higher.

  • Supta Pavanmuktasana – Press the back and the shoulders down, hold both shins and draw them into you, then lift head and touch forehead to knees X 3.

  • Sirsasana – Buttock forwards! Legs straighter! Feet are together! Knees are together! 5 minutes and then bend the legs to come down – shoulders UP to bring the legs down! Shoulders UP, bend the legs to come down, Shoulders UP! land nicely.

  • Take 2 tall chairs or 1 chair and 1 tall Halasana Box.

  • Chair Sarvangasana 5 mins rolling directly over into Halasana 5 mins.

  • Roll back to Sarvangasana chair, move the Halasana box out of the way and then slide down, legs bent on chair. If the floor is too cold and you are not comfortable, come down and place the sticky mat / blanket, otherwise stay.

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